If you’re looking to get yourself some truly great body art, there is one thing you should keep in mind… don’t just wing it.
Can you get some great art on a spur of the moment rush? Sure. If you’re lucky enough to know a great artist who is able to fit you in, you could pull off getting an epic piece on the fly. However, and this is the majority of cases, you’re likely to end up with average to poor quality artwork for taking a quick jump.
Most importantly, it takes research.
Similar to when you are writing a book report, you never want to judge a book by its cover. It’s important to crack that book and get a really good look inside. You never know what actually lies inside its pages. You may love the cover and yet hate the content. It happens.
The same is true for tattoo artists.
It is important to do your research.
Just because someone’s website says they were on Ink Master, that doesn’t mean they were. Did you verify it? Did you check on Ink Master’s website to see if their name appears on the cast roster (yes, you can search that)? If you don’t see their name—big red flag. If they did appear on one of the competition television shows, did you watch the season they were in? Were they a long-standing contestant or did they get booted off in the first episode? What comments did the judges have to say? If they claim to be in magazines or have their work featured in publications—go look for it. Are they sponsored? Take a look at who else is supported by those companies. Companies are careful who they put their name behind.
The internet is a place where people can say what they want with little verification to it. But, when it comes to tattoo artists, it’s not hard to back up their claims. A quick Google search will tell you everything you need to know about the quality, honesty, sponsors, and ratings of the artist you are looking to book.
What else is the internet good for? Checking the quality of their work. Tattoo artists are often in control of their own social media—meaning they post their own work for display. On occasion, you get larger/busier artists who have social media managers but, on the norm, it’s the artist posting. This means they’re choosing what you’re seeing. The internet is your friend here. Search for the shop’s hashtag or artist’s name on social media sites and see what their clients are posting. This will give you samples of their work in real-world lighting, as well as the chance to see healed work. You can read comments posted with the pictures to give you a good idea of what the clients felt about the shop, the artist, and so forth.
Don’t just take it from the artist—social media gives you the ability to get the real deal from the clients directly.
But that’s not all.
It’s not just the shop/artist you need to be looking into. You should also look into tattoo styles.
When it comes to getting a truly great piece also relies on one of two things: either knowing what you want or allowing the artist to have free reign.
If you don’t want to leave it up to the artist, then it is important to do your research (notice a running theme here?). What style of tattoo do you want? Do you know what theme, what size? Check out images of tattoos in similar styles and themes to what you are wanting. Take these concepts to your artist and allow them to help you plan out the best piece possible for the style, size, and part of the body in which you are putting it.
Can you get a tattoo without research and patience? Yes, absolutely. I personally have gotten a few of those myself. Of course, in all honesty, I have either covered them or am in the process of covering them. Can you get great art without putting any research into the style or design of the piece? Yes, absolutely. There are artists who operate best on the fly. But, taking this chance is only successful if you’ve—wait for it—done your research and chosen the right artist.